Deb Keller, a past U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman and farmer from Iowa, assumed the role of the Council’s representative to MAIZALL – the international maize alliance – on July 1, following her election by the USGC Board of Directors earlier this summer.
“My role as a MAIZALL director is to help deliver the message that advanced crop improvement technologies – whether biotechnology or the use of CRISPR – are environmentally friendly, economically crucial tools to deliver a safe, reliable product and help ensure nutrition and stability to all countries,” Keller said. “Together, we can accomplish more than working independently.”
Keller is a full-time farmer from Clarion, Iowa, with more than 25 years of experience in production agriculture that have allowed her to learn firsthand the value of biotechnology to more predictability and higher yields. She served as USGC chairman in 2017-2018, having previously served as the leader of the Rest of the World Advisory Team. Keller is also a former chairwoman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
“We welcome Deb into the MAIZALL family,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and chief executive officer. “Deb will continue to build upon the legacy built by the MAIZALL founders and help us continue MAIZALL’s advocacy into the future.”
MAIZALL was established in 2013 by leaders from the Council, the National Corn Growers Association, BRAMILHO (Brazilian Association of Corn Producers) and MAIZAR (the Argentine corn and sorghum federation). Growers in all three countries work to resolve shared problems with non-tariff barriers in global markets, primarily related to biotechnology, even though they are serious competitors.
“By representing 70 percent of the export market, farmers in Argentina, Brazil and the United States can speak with a loud voice through MAIZALL,” Keller said. “Farmers everywhere face many of the same challenges – weather, margins, a reliable workforce and transportation. It is crucial to focus on those things that unite us, and that includes the need for biotechnology.”
Keller assumed the MAIZALL role following the retirement of Julius Schaaf, a fellow past USGC chairman and a founder of MAIZALL.
“The originators of MAIZALL laid the groundwork. I believe in its structure and am supportive of the efforts that have gone into making this project successful thus far,” Keller said. “MAIZALL will illustrating how successful teamwork between our three countries communicates the need for advanced crop breeding techniques.”
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.